Several years ago, I was looking for a perfect place to organize my 40th birthday party. I was looking for an unusual location where we could be both outdoor and indoor depending on the weather, that is children friendly, with good beer and food, close to the city center but rather distant form living areas if we stay till late and have a few more beers than usual.
It was a difficult task. Online search resulted in a list of boring hotels that did not meet a single criteria I was looking for. So, I had to resume to the old-style word-of-mouth search. Finally, I’ve found an ideal place, and it was rather surprising – a rugby field!
Airbnb allows travelers finding the right place to stay according to their various preferences – to stay in unusual places, to learn more about the place and its culture, to feel like home or to visit locals, and to have the costs under control. It also gives the owners of the place to find the right guests.
Finding the right venue for an event is fundamentally similar task like finding a proper holiday location. There are several companies who have notices that and started to provide an “Airbnb for event venues” type of services. Most of them are covering US, like Splacer (http://www.splacer.co/), Eventup (http://eventup.com/), Convene (http://convene.com/), Peerspace (http://www.peerspace.com/). Breather (http://breather.com/) covers a few US and Canadian cities. Storefront (http://thestorefront.com/) adds Hong Kong, London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Milan.
The whole user experience they provide is almost identical to the one of Airbnb. They provide search by location, capacity, budget and features provided by the venues – Wi-Fi, lighting, AV equipment, catering, etc. There are a handful of photos for each place, customer reviews and possibility to book the venue directly.
In Europe, Fiylo (https://www.fiylo.com/) covers Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and Meatspace (https://www.meatspace.cz/) provides a directory of fabulous places in charming Prague and other cities in the Czech Republic. Unlike the US counterparts, Fiylo and Meatspace are more directories than booking services. Still, they are very good at finding interesting venues and getting contact to them.
Meatspace is also unique in providing a directory of other service providers that are of use on any event – catering of all types and flavors, mobile event apps, photo services, etc. Lately, Airbnb made a step in a similar direction with offering so called experiences. Both Meatspace and Airbnb understand that to make perfect event or holidays needs more than just finding a perfect place.
None of the services mentioned above are global. Each of them concentrates on venues in some 5 to 50 cities. This is not a problem because you do not organize an event on the other side of the globe. You organize conferences, product presentations or a birthday party in a place where you live and where you run your business. The key is to find one service that list the venues in your location.